Back in Florida

June 11, 2007

Just a short post to let family and friends know that we are back in Ft. Lauderdale at our little camp cottage with no cable TV and no high speed access.  A huge stack of books and magazines will take the place of TV for the next few weeks (yea!) And blogging might be slower with dial up and with less photos… But we are here, back in the big city!

Within a mile from us here is some of the best shopping anywhere. Giants versions of big box books sellers complete with fancy coffee shops, a football field sized Target, Pier One and import stores from all over the world, the trendy and upscale Galleria Mall, no less than a dozen warehouse type furniture stores, luxury auto dealers, the BEST whole and health food markets, hundreds of unusual boutiques and MUCH MORE are nearby. 

If we are not in the mood for shopping (or window shopping), the restaurants are amazing and the beach is only two miles away. 

Mostly, I love it here because of the diversity of the people.  An international city really, with folks here from literally every part of the globe.  Yet our city neighborhood of mid-century ranchers and newer city townhomes is friendly and has it’s own small town feel.  Our good friends live across the street, a nice Mexican family has moved in the rental house next door, John (a sweet beer drinkin’ Irishman) lives in the hood as does the electrician native that just put the addition on his home down the street.

Anyway, sorry for shortage of recent posts. Hopefully the creative energy of the big city will inspire us with loads of blogging material. Stay tuned!

Warm wishes. Anita

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Rebel Barn, Pride or Hate?

May 15, 2007


My Liza came home with this disturbing photo today.  What is this rebel flag suppose to be saying to us?  Is it “southern pride” or is it “state’s rights” or is it some kind of backward racial comment made by someone clearly still residing in another time?

As a white female boomer born in the south, I am very proud of most things southern. Love my Mama and my family and my southern musical heritage. Love Tennessee Pride sausage gravy and homemade biscuits almost as much as a nice thick authentic southern accent. I call everyone “Y’all”. I love the climate: the four seasons of the Applalachian mountains, the tropical flavor of South Florida, the historical architecture of Savannah and the diversity of New Orleans and Atlanta. And I like the weather too.

I decided a long time ago that I would travel everywhere, but would not reside west of the Mississippi River nor north of Virginia. I am a southern girl. This doesn’t mean I am proud of every page of my southern history book.

Having said that, I am also a product of the sixties. I beleived Mr. King. Racial bigotry is the same to me as any other hate based thinking involving discrimination. Whether against women, gays, minority races, or religious/secular groups, it is all the same. I have always beleived that a lack of mutal respect for other humans and/or a lack of education must be behind this kind of narrow (if you are not like me then you must be wrong) thinking.

I am a product of Key West’s ONE HUMAN FAMILY philosophy.

So what does this rebel flag emblem suppose to mean to me? Or should it exist at all?


Gotham Writer’s Workshop????

April 4, 2007

In my new effort to improve my non-fiction writing chops, I am considering participating in an  writer’s group at Gotham Writer’s Workshop (NYC of course).  Have any of you experience with this organization? 

Their credentials seem in order.  I would prefer a writer’s group in person, but none are available nearby. 

A.D.D., I seem to be in need of structure and accountability. Perhaps a writer’s group would be the encouragement I need.

Kindred Spirit in Key West offered a writing course that I took a few years ago.  In one class exercise, Instructor Shelley had us write on writing.

“Writing for me is basically an involuntary reaction like throwing up, belching, or sneezing when I get black pepper up my nose.  I haven’t much choice.  I write so I can go on.”

“I remember after Hurricane Georges numbly shuffling through the days of clean-up: the heat, the muck, the worry. I even saw a man die. Run over on his bicycle by one of those monster debris removal trucks. There the stranger lay on the pavement: helmet removed, a single trickle of blood making a puddle near his dark, curly hair. The huge truck’s driver sitting on the curb with his head resting in open hands.”

“Somewhere into the second week after the hurricane, the storm raged on in my mind. I felt so heavy with the collective trauma. I needed to catalog all the impressions and feelings. To put them somewhere safe for keeping. I unloaded my weight onto the page. There. I could move on!”

My journals are filled with the births, deaths, and all varieties of change and drama. “I write when I feel. When I feel so strongly that I can not help myself, I write. I need the release. Writing makes me feel light and unburdened.  It allows me to go on.”

Shelley gave me permission to write not only when necessary, but just because I could. “I write in my notebook filled with loose leaf paper.  I also write on the white paper napkins while I drink White Russian milkshakes at Louis Backyard Bar. I also write on the back of K-mart receipts or a small notepad with “First State Bank… your hometown bank” printed in neat aqua letters across the top of each sheet.”

“But I am not a writer. Writer’s get paid and are interviewed by Matt or Al on morning TV. Writers get published. Writer’s get read.”

Thanks to blogging, I now have a forum for writing not just because I have to, but because Shelley said I can.

Warm wishes until next time. anitamorrell.wordpress.com


Well Bless your Heart!

March 21, 2007

My girlfriend, Diane, and I were discussing the Southern expression so often used in our families and by us… “bless your heart”.  You know, your dog dies… “well, bless your heart”.  Or you found out you have a brain tumor, a lost love, a late bill… it is always the same…”Bless your heart!”. 

We have also discussed, many times, how hard it is to go to Target without spending considerable more that we intended. In her last e-mail she included this “southern prayer” before her impending trip to Target: 

“I too must venture to Target with the hopes of geting out with only what I went in for.
Let us pray together.
Please lord, grant me the power to resist the cute rugs and coffeee pots, the
curtains and the econo size shampoo, the uneccessary power tools and garden
plants. We ask thee for the strength to resist tee shirts on sale, jeans made
for teens, anything sleeveless and the trendy tops that we’ll hate next week and
can’t squeeze into our already crowded, tiny little closets. And dear lord, let
us get what we came for and be in and out within minutes, not hours or days. We
thank you lord for your protection from the evils of vulgar and vile consumerism
as we say together “Amen.”

All I can say to Diane regarding her Target adventure will be “bless your heart”!


One Human Family

February 23, 2007

During my Starting Over process I was cleaning out a box from B.D.D. when I ran across a bumper sticker that read:  “Everyone in the world can share the Official Philosophy of Key West, Florida: All People are created equal members of ONE HUMAN FAMILY”.

It occurs to me now that I am not just missing my Dad but am also missing the life I had in Key West for 17 years. By letting go of my professional life, relocating our homes, and suffering a tragic loss – all in a very short time, I fear I have created for myself the perfect storm… but that is not the subject today.

Key West is a tiny island at the end of a chain of islands (Keys) that pushes itself out into the Atlantic Ocean like a plantling stretching for the sun. Only 90 miles from Cuba, Key West is the USA’s only tropical, frost free oasis to which one can drive.

That is exactly what we did in April, 1989.  Our 23′ long U-haul, plus towed Mustang, arrived in Key West carrying us, possessions to meet immediate needs and enough musical equipment to stock the little music store that we intended to open.

We are proud of our work there knowing that we filled a need that afforded us a modest income and passage into a truly amazing community of characters. The people in Key West are as diverse as those colored sprinkles that top your ice cream cone from the local DQ.

But no one there seems to notice.  It is a very live-and-let-live kind of place.  The movie star lives next to the retired or escaping corporate dude, who lives next to the bartender from Sloppy Joe’s, who lives next door to Cuban bakery.  The cheese toast and buche are enjoyed by everyone on the island including the conch on his way to a City job who lives next door to a household of hotel workers from Mexico.

My friend P. is a fifth generation conch who lives in a turn-of-the-century gingerbread eyebrow house and is a perfect example of the excepting nature of the island.  P’s family included a great, great grandfather from China who married an island girl.  Her family has co-existed with the Cuban folks who came in the 60’s (and still come today), with influxes of Irish immigrants, not to mention the eastern block invasion that happened after the cold war passed.  Even before P’s time, her family was exposed to travelers from all over the world including the US military that has occupied the island and still does today.  P. contends it is the island’s diversity that makes it the special place that it is and I agree.

Not too much “keeping up with the Jones” in Key West. Everyone wears shorts and sandals.  Some don’t have to work, and some have 3 jobs.  Some fill their days with artistic escape, volunteering, partying, some work 15 hours a day just so they can live the remaining hours in this magical space.  At the end of the day, all join together at the edges of the island to praise the Universe for producing yet another dependably stunning sunset over the crystal tipped waves of the Gulf of Mexico. 

I miss Key West, but I miss her people more.  I am a better person for having lived in Key West because I embraced and took with me the concept of One Human Family.  I wish I could put this understanding in a pill that the whole world would take.